An open letter to former Vice President Joe Biden
Nearly a decade ago, I watched you along with Senator Barack Obama become the vice president and president of the United States, respectively. More recently, last January, I watched as you and President Obama left office to go back to being private citizens. It wasn’t easy seeing you and him leave, but nothing will last forever.
Rather than thinking about the country’s current misguided direction, I have been cramming myself with the issues of the past to get myself a better idea of how we got to this point in history. I do this because I aspire to be a leader as you were, maybe not as president or as vice president, but as someone who is charismatic, full of integrity, and dedicated as you are. I know many people want to take this path too, and I’m willing to bet many of them are inspired by leaders like you.
Through nearly a half a century of public service, you’ve been put through the wringer. Elected at just 29 years old to the United States Senate, you’ve dealt with the tragedy of losing your loved ones; your wife Neilia and daughter Naomi in 1972, and your son Beau in 2015. Through your time in the Senate, you have dealt with tough issues facing this country such as war, domestic violence, judicial nominations, foreign relations and healthcare. You’ve worked with multiple presidents, world leaders and individuals throughout your career, and have left your legacy as the second in command from the president.
Yet despite the issues that pressed the nation, you took the train home from Washington, D.C. to Wilmington, Delaware to kiss your children goodnight. You gained the respect of many of your colleagues and adversaries, from democrats to republicans to independents. Mostly though, despite your disagreements you may have on certain issues, despite your close-handedness to friends and strangers alike, and despite the many gaffes you had over the years, no ever asked you to stop being Joe.
The timing of this letter may seem a little obsolete. After all, it’s been more than eight months since you took the Amtrak back to Wilmington. But it wasn’t until I had my own gaffe not long ago that I understood the scrutiny of having a large mishap occur in front of a large stage. Should I apologize? Should I defend myself? Or should I just let it go? I don’t know, what’s better?
Look, I don’t claim to be perfect, and neither do you. But I bet you’ve dealt with a situation like mine a hundred times over, and that when you do, you automatically recognize your actions. People might claim that words can hurt, not just others but your own reputation. Yet you still push on, because at the end of the day, we all know that actions speak bolder than words.
So yes, the reason I wrote this was because I found it odd not to think about you when it happened. I figure if you could move on from the multiple gaffes you’ve created over the years, conquer the tragedies of your life, and still become one of the greatest public servants in U.S. history, then I think I can make it through one gaffe and get similar results.
Now there’s no telling whether I’ll get elected to office one day and become as well-versed as you Joe. But if I ever do, it was because of role models like you and President Obama of which I would have been inspired to do so.
I doubt you’ll actually get to read this letter, but if you do Joe, don’t hesitate to write back.
Christopher Jurewitsch is a senior studying Geography and G.I.S. In his free time, he plays guitar, writes essays and poems, and eats ice cream.